The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.

A Super Time for Desert Blooms

May 1, 2023

By: Shanna Winters, Conservation department 

Springtime in the desert is like no other place on earth and, here in the Coachella Valley when the flowers bloom, we are treated to a show of nature’s splendor that draws people from across the world. We occasionally have a "superbloom," a magnificent, heart stopping event that inspires us with the power of nature.

To spur on the blooming, the desert needs rain in the fall to trigger germination and additional rains throughout the winter and spring to keep the plants growing. Some desert plant seeds can wait decades in the sandy soil for just the right conditions to bloom. These plants have relatively short lives, giving all their energy to grow and bloom just once. 

These blossoms are delicate and the incredible sight of seeing thousands— even hundreds of thousands— of blooms draws us all to see them. Regretfully, the crowds going out to see them are contributing to a decline in their blooming. When people park their car in the fields or walk off the trails, they may not know the impact of disturbing where the seeds may have fallen for the next bloom cycle. Some even pick the flowers, removing them entirely from the ecosystem. Plants are the basis upon which the ecosystem is built. The superbloom plants are annuals, putting all their energy into growing flowers. The flowers support native pollinators, such as bees, moths, and birds, and their seeds support small animals and birds for years to come. These seeds are adapted to rest in the soil for years (some of them up to 40 years), until the conditions are right for them to create the next superbloom.   

Here at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, we are working to preserve and restore many of these beauties to the desert, to help ensure this grand display of biodiversity in the Coachella Valley and beyond. Seeds are essential for our ongoing restoration projects where we are working to restore the plants and then introduce animals, such as the desert tortoise, back into their native habitats. We also work to plant native plants in areas where native pollinators are in decline, providing the basis for all species in the Coachella Valley, including people, to experience the full spectrum of plants native to our wonderful desert paradise.

Throughout the Living Desert, you’ll see many species of plants and blooming flowers. The Zoo and gardens are a family-friendly space to view these miracles of nature, with many options for food, water, and rest areas as you take in the sights. Here are just a few of the blooming plants and where you can find them:

In addition to The Living Desert, there are many places throughout the area with beautiful blossoms to view from during superbloom and beyond. For the most up-to-date information on desert wildflowers, visit  

As you enjoy this amazing show of nature’s beauty, remember to protect the flowers by leaving them undisturbed. Leave the flower, save the seeds. Save the seeds, save the species. Preserve the future super bloom!

Tips for responsibly visiting wildflowers:

  1. As always, when in nature, what you carry in what you carry out.
  2. Take lots of phots of the flowers, but be careful not to tread on or pick them. Be sure you and your four-footed hiking partners stay on designated trails and paths! Venturing into the flowers damages existing blooms and prevents the next generation from growing.
  3. Plan ahead and be prepared! Many wildflower locations are in areas with limited or no cell service, so download maps and information before you arrive. Bring plenty of water and snacks, dress for the weather, and have a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand.
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